People often talk about everything that is wrong in their marriages, but they remain undecided on whether to leave or not.
Discussing why people stay in unhappy marriages on social media last week, one member of a Facebook group cited that staying in an unhappy relationship shows lack of self confidence and self love.
“Life is too short and happiness is everything,” she argues.
Another view from a female contributor to the debate was that some people are always positive that things will change.
“The reality of life is that you cannot change someone. It does not matter how hard you try,” she says.
Mary Khumbanyiwa, a Chancellor College sociology graduate notes that in our society, most women stay in unhappy marriages because after child birth or invested years into the marriage, they tend to lose their self worth and are usually scared to start all over again with someone new.
She further notes that men are not good at initiating a divorce if the wife does not ask for it.
“They will keep living the way things are until she gets tired, packs her bags and leaves. However, others stay because despite the unhappy marriage, they get to have an outlet system. They might have ‘side chicks’ for instance, in which case the misery being experienced in the marriage weighs less on them. Plus it saves on the alimony,” she says.
Another sociologist, Martin Lefu points out that religious and cultural norms discourage divorce as marriage is considered sacred.
He notes that this is why divorcees and children from divorced parents are usually looked down upon in society.
“Our culture does not really condone divorce. As such people would rather stay in unhappy marriages. Most of them live with the hope that things would get better with their spouses. Apart from that, financial insecurity is a contributing factor, especially for women.
“Despite the strides in women gaining financial independence in the country, most of them are still dependent on their husbands for financial needs. So, the fear of living in poverty usually overrides the necessity of leaving unhappy marriages for most women,” says Lefu.
Sociologists argue that investments in forms of time, efforts and money make people more prone to stay and invest in a relationship in which they are not happy.